EAGAN, Minn. — Kyle Rudolph isn’t going anywhere.
The Vikings tight end agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract extension, a source said Monday night, June 10. The deal will be signed Tuesday.
Rudolph 29, was on the books to make $7.275 million in 2019, the final year of his contract, and have a cap number of $7.625 million. A source said Rudolph’s extension will “for sure” lower his salary-cap number but an exact number was not revealed.
The Vikings entered Monday with just $611,926 of cap room, and making a move on Rudolph was considered important to help them create more space. If a move couldn’t be made to lower Rudolph’s number, there was a chance of him being traded or possibly even released.
Rudolph, though, is now under contract through 2023. He expressed his appreciation in a message posted Monday night on Twitter. It included references to the work he does in the community, including having established Kyle Rudolph’s End Zone, a therapeutic patient care space at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
“Just under a decade ago, I received a phone call that would change my life,’’ Rudolph wrote, referring to being drafted in the second round by the Vikings in 2011. “On that day, all I knew is that I would be playing in the NFL, realizing my childhood dream. What I didn’t know was the role the state of Minnesota would play in my life. Marrying my wife (Jordan) and established our home … in Minnesota.
“Experiencing the birth of my three beautiful children … in Minnesota. Starting a journey to better the lives of children dealing with a disease that doesn’t discriminate … in Minnesota. Giving everything I can possibly give, professionally and personally, to the greatest sports franchise and its fans … in Minnesota. And I am honored beyond words to say that my home, our home will always be … in Minnesota! #UnfinishedBusiness.”
There had been plenty of speculation about Rudolph’s future since Minnesota selected tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of the NFL draft in April. However, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer had said all along the plan has been to play Rudolph and Smith together.
Smith said Rudolph has been a mentor to him in his first 1 1/2 months with the Vikings. Smith recently said, “I definitely hope he sticks around.” When Rudolph posted his statement Monday night on Twitter, Smith tweeted, “Yessir! Let’s Get It.”